Color of the Month—Black, 2017

By Contributing Writer,

  Filed under: Color of the Month, Feature


Just Enough Drama

by Miranda Lipton

I learned very quickly in my freshman year of college that there are a few things that you can simply never have enough of: school spirit swag, sleep, and of course, the staple to every wardrobe, all things black. Irrelevant of the situations that I found myself in, I always seemed to need more black clothing! It makes sense. As a timeless color that can be dressed up or down, embellished with funky accessories or just be elegantly simple on its own, who wouldn’t need more black? From working on this article, it seems that my friends and I are not alone in our thinking. Black is trending in many more places than college campuses. Who knew?


Color in Black and White


PPG keyed in on the importance of black by selecting Black Flame (PPG1043-7) as its 2018 Color of the Year. PPG’s Senior Color Marketing Manager, Dee Schlotter, calls it a statement-making black, infused with an undertone of the deepest indigo. “The blend of two colors makes it incredibly versatile—it can be used on a statement wall, with a matte finish on a ceiling, with high gloss on a naturally-lit staircase, on the wall behind a flat screen, on cabinets, on interior and exterior doors, and in many more places,” she related.

It seems that black in combination with white is rooted even deeper than the Oreo cookie. It is a popular choice amongst some of our color experts because of the balance that it creates in any environment. “White and cream are classically combined with shades of black, providing a dramatic contrast. It is important to contrast it with these colors to bring some life into a space,” said Ashley Banbury, Senior Designer for Pratt & Lambert.

Benjamin Moore Color & Design Expert, Hannah Yeo, adds a twist to this combination: “The ever popular black and white combination layers well with graphic elements. Bring in bold strokes of geometric lines and pops of other colors to complete the contemporary look,” she advised.

For a different look, she suggested combining blacks with natural elements such as wood, slate and stone. “The rustic wood tone adds warmth, while matte black absorbs the light, creating a surprisingly restful quality. Those who seek more drama are using higher sheen,” said Yeo.


Too Much IS Enough


A common concern associated with black is the possibility of adding “too much drama” to the space. Color experts place a heavy emphasis on the lighting of the room when considering it. This one of the three key factors that Mary Lawlor, Manager of Color Marketing for Kelly-Moore Paints, looks for when considering the use of black. She has three questions you can propose to customers who are considering black—even if it’s your idea: Can the space you’re using it in support the drama, are you using it in a task-centric location like a kitchen or office, and if so, is there adequate lighting in the space?



According to Banbury, black with an undertone of another color will be most popular in 2018. “Brown that is almost black, such as Pratt & Lambert’s Obsidian (33-17), and Confidentia (29-17), are so close to black you will have to take a second look,” she said. “We have gone through a ‘cool’ phase in paint colors and now you are going to see colors warm these blacks back up. Adding some red, yellow and indigo adds warmth to this traditional color.”


Pratt and Lambert



The Door to Darkness

A reoccurring theme surrounding black is its potential to easily highlight or dramatize an aspect of a room. Lawlor described how. “Adding black on framing can energize a minimalistic environment. It’s a great way to add a touch of drama without undertaking a major design project,” she said. (See photo on page 11.)

Since black is so bold, Yeo suggests utilizing it in an entryway to make a memorable first-impression: “Whether it’s a formal foyer or an accent wall in a mudroom, dress it to your style,” she said. “Use contrasting lighter colors in the adjoining rooms to balance the darkness as you walk from room to room.”

Schlotter refers to black as instant sophistication. “Adding a black hue to an otherwise neutral space is an effortless way to impart a modern touch to a place that would otherwise require a more time-consuming addition,” she said.

Depending on the way it is used, she continued, it can show to great effect both inside and out. “Homeowners can boost their curb appeal with black shutters. Pair it with subtle yellow siding to convey a warm and welcoming atmosphere to guests, or with white-washed brick for a clean, modern look. Inside, black also works perfectly in a powder room,” Schlotter added. “Pair black walls and trim with matte black or burnished gold faucets for a classic statement. It goes with everything and takes the guesswork out of decorating.”

It is good to know there are others out there who share my love for this timeless color. And, while my dad’s care packages never fail to have their fill of Ohio State apparel and energy drinks…Dad: did you get the subtle hint? I need more black!